Reporting Tim Kephart
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TORONTO (CBSMiami) – National Hockey League fans are starting to settle in to the reality that there is not likely to be any games this season. Now, the NHL has suggested taking a two-week break on any negotiations on a collective bargaining agreement with the NHL Players Association.
According to The Sports Network out of Canada, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said a moratorium was needed on the talks which remain at an impasse after nine weeks of the owners lockout. The move from Bettman came after the NHLPA said there was no way to proceed from the current stalemate, according to TSN.
If the talks do go into a two-week hiatus, it could mean NHL regular season games through mid-December could be canceled. Published reports from earlier in the week said the NHL was planning to cancel the games if a new deal wasn’t in the cards soon.
So far, according to TSN, players have missed three paychecks. The owners hope that eventually the players will break after missing enough paychecks. Players have vowed not to settle for a bad deal as they did during the last CBA negotiations which cost the league an entire season.
But for the NHL, it’s playing a dangerous game with American fans. The league has already lost its place among the major sports in the U.S. and losing another season, which is a distinct possibility, could bury the NHL’s popularity in the U.S.
Plus, with each round of canceled games, the players and owners are fighting over a smaller overall revenue pie, meaning any eventual deal will lose a significant chunk of money. Making the stalemate even more frustrating for fans is the league just had a record year in revenue, $3.3 billion.
The NHL has lost 327 games to the lockout so far, including the Winter Classic that was set to match up the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings at Michigan Stadium. The last time the league canceled an entire season due to a work stoppage was in 2004-05 when the season was canceled on Feb. 16, 2005.
All total since the early 1990’s, the NHL has lost more than 1,700 games to work stoppages.